Home & Garden

Shut down water during vacation?

  • Last Updated:
  • Dec 2nd, 2018 11:12 am
Deal Addict
Dec 17, 2013
1025 posts

Shut down water during vacation?

I know this has been discussed multiple times, but never got the answer for this specific question.

We are going away few weeks in Dec. We decided to reduce the thermostat to 15C and shut down main water supply, this is a new build home which is 6 months old. My question is, if we shut down the water supply completely, the whole house humidifier will run empty and the humidity inside will drop significantly. I was told that dry interiors damage flooring and window panels etc. What should I be doing? Will be thankful if someone shares insight.
17 replies
Deal Addict
Sep 22, 2009
1866 posts
Your humidifier will run as long as the heater is on....even setting at 15degC
Deal Expert
Aug 2, 2004
29831 posts
East Gwillimbury
BDSL wrote:
Nov 26th, 2018 6:28 pm
Your humidifier will run as long as the heater is on....even setting at 15degC
He plans to shut the water off completely.

Your house is only 6 months old. I would set the heat a little higher just to dry out the basement. 17 is a good setting

As for the water. If you are going to be gone for several weeks, you can always get a couple of pails and fill it with water. It will evaporate over time just like your toilets.
Deal Addict
Dec 19, 2009
3203 posts
Which would you rather come home too:
A possibly drier than normal house or a flooded basement?
Deal Addict
Feb 11, 2018
1581 posts
Shut off the water to the house and if you have a tub in the basement then open cold/hot faucets to empty pipes. One way or the other drain the pipes. If your furnace stops working and if outside temp is VERY cold and temp in the house drops below freezing the water in pipes will freeze and expand. If you have copper pipes they will burst. You will have quite a surprise when you come back home and turn the water back on.

Reduce thermostat and as others have suggested fill up tubs/sinks with water.

If you are gone for an extended period of time check with your insurance company. Some companies request that the house be visited every 4 days in winter to make sure everything is fine in the house.

And you might want to flush all the toilets after you have shut down the water. I know it is only the content of the tank that would spill, nevertheless a cracked toilet tank will not improve flooring...

If I'm not mistaken Celine Dion's house had a cracked toilet tank on the top floor with the water running while they were gone for an extended period of time. I believe she sold the 'house' near Montreal for 2 million dollars less due to water damage.
Last edited by TomLafinsky on Nov 27th, 2018 12:27 pm, edited 3 times in total.
True and long-lasting happiness comes from within, not from without.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Feb 25, 2015
975 posts
York Region
Test the water shut off now to ensure it works as intended.
Penalty Box
Dec 27, 2013
8003 posts
yes OP shut off water for sure
dont worry about humidity. and like others said if u can drain pipes might be good idea too.

my parents house had the FRIDGE water line break (fridge that has water cooler/ice maker).. the feed line (plastic) snapped. That water pipe from the main line to the fridge is literally .25cm in diameter and pretty much flooded the kitchen in 12 hours lol as I had been there the day before.

and yes check with your insurance. most policies have a 7 day check up... (Ih aven't seen 4 day check up).. but 7 day is pretty common.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
9115 posts
I wonder if having smart home sensors (tstat, cameras, etc) is enough to count for weekly checkups for insurance.
Deal Addict
Dec 17, 2013
1025 posts
Really appreciate the replies.

1. Will shut the water completely.
2. Drain all pipes, toilets and water line in Fridge.
3. Have pots of water in the house and tubs with water for humidity.
4. Will reduce the temp to 16C.

will have someone to visit now and then.
Deal Addict
Aug 27, 2009
1233 posts
I have 2 shutoffs - the usual one at the water meter and a 1/4 turn ball valve 2 ft downstream. I use the latter when needed.

I moved the humidifier water supply takeoff to be between the 2 valves. The feed is controlled with a small saddle valve so should there ever be a failure the flow would be low enough that it would just run into the nearby drain and there'd be minimal flood risk. The chances of a pipe burst between the 2 shutoffs is very low and I don't worry about it. My humidifier will continue to function when I'm away during winter.

YMMV depending on your basement and furnace/humidifier, water supply locations and setup.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 2, 2009
1397 posts
You can shut the water off, but I would have someone go thru the house every other day or so and let the person fill your humidifier. Even if something does happen to your house while you are away and you have to make an insurance claim, the insurance may not cover you if no one checks up on your property.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Aug 18, 2005
18259 posts
GTA West
OP, check the terms of your home insurance!
It might be necessary to have someone come to the house every X number of days, otherwise you will lose coverage for certain things.

My own insurance policy states that it can't be unattended for over 7 days straight or there's no coverage for flooding, etc. You have to get someone to check on your place periodically.
What if there were no hypothetical questions?
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jan 2, 2012
2359 posts
eonibm wrote:
Dec 1st, 2018 11:18 am
leave everything on. I've never shut a thing off and nothing has happened.
Never won the lottery either, I bet.
I can tell you that the odds of a furnace failure and subsequent pipe freezing while you are away on vacation, versus winning the lottery, are substantially better.
Neighbours down my street are military, and both went on deployment over the winter. Their furnace did exactly that. It was only discovered when the City noticed an abnormal meter reading.
They had to completely gut the interior and throw out many of their belongings.

Edit: added text to clarify meaning in order keep the smarty pants happy.
Last edited by MrFrugal1 on Dec 2nd, 2018 11:17 am, edited 1 time in total.